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      The expanding world of small RNAs in plants

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      Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology
      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          Plant genomes encode various small RNAs that function in distinct, yet overlapping, genetic and epigenetic silencing pathways. However, the abundance and diversity of small-RNA classes varies among plant species, suggesting coevolution between environmental adaptations and gene-silencing mechanisms. Biogenesis of small RNAs in plants is well understood, but we are just beginning to uncover their intricate regulation and activity. Here, we discuss the biogenesis of plant small RNAs, such as microRNAs, secondary siRNAs and heterochromatic siRNAs, and their diverse cellular and developmental functions, including in reproductive transitions, genomic imprinting and paramutation. We also discuss the diversification of small-RNA-directed silencing pathways through the expansion of RNA-dependent RNA polymerases, DICER proteins and ARGONAUTE proteins.

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          Most cited references132

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          A diverse and evolutionarily fluid set of microRNAs in Arabidopsis thaliana.

          To better understand the diversity of small silencing RNAs expressed in plants, we employed high-throughput pyrosequencing to obtain 887,000 reads corresponding to Arabidopsis thaliana small RNAs. They represented 340,000 unique sequences, a substantially greater diversity than previously obtained in any species. Most of the small RNAs had the properties of heterochromatic small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) associated with DNA silencing in that they were preferentially 24 nucleotides long and mapped to intergenic regions. Their density was greatest in the proximal and distal pericentromeric regions, with only a slightly preferential propensity to match repetitive elements. Also present were 38 newly identified microRNAs (miRNAs) and dozens of other plausible candidates. One miRNA mapped within an intron of DICER-LIKE 1 (DCL1), suggesting a second homeostatic autoregulatory mechanism for DCL1 expression; another defined the phase for siRNAs deriving from a newly identified trans-acting siRNA gene (TAS4); and two depended on DCL4 rather than DCL1 for their accumulation, indicating a second pathway for miRNA biogenesis in plants. More generally, our results revealed the existence of a layer of miRNA-based control beyond that found previously that is evolutionarily much more fluid, employing many newly emergent and diverse miRNAs, each expressed in specialized tissues or at low levels under standard growth conditions.
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            High-Throughput Sequencing of Arabidopsis microRNAs: Evidence for Frequent Birth and Death of MIRNA Genes

            In plants, microRNAs (miRNAs) comprise one of two classes of small RNAs that function primarily as negative regulators at the posttranscriptional level. Several MIRNA genes in the plant kingdom are ancient, with conservation extending between angiosperms and the mosses, whereas many others are more recently evolved. Here, we use deep sequencing and computational methods to identify, profile and analyze non-conserved MIRNA genes in Arabidopsis thaliana. 48 non-conserved MIRNA families, nearly all of which were represented by single genes, were identified. Sequence similarity analyses of miRNA precursor foldback arms revealed evidence for recent evolutionary origin of 16 MIRNA loci through inverted duplication events from protein-coding gene sequences. Interestingly, these recently evolved MIRNA genes have taken distinct paths. Whereas some non-conserved miRNAs interact with and regulate target transcripts from gene families that donated parental sequences, others have drifted to the point of non-interaction with parental gene family transcripts. Some young MIRNA loci clearly originated from one gene family but form miRNAs that target transcripts in another family. We suggest that MIRNA genes are undergoing relatively frequent birth and death, with only a subset being stabilized by integration into regulatory networks.
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              Transcriptome-wide mapping reveals widespread dynamic-regulated pseudouridylation of ncRNA and mRNA.

              Pseudouridine is the most abundant RNA modification, yet except for a few well-studied cases, little is known about the modified positions and their function(s). Here, we develop Ψ-seq for transcriptome-wide quantitative mapping of pseudouridine. We validate Ψ-seq with spike-ins and de novo identification of previously reported positions and discover hundreds of unique sites in human and yeast mRNAs and snoRNAs. Perturbing pseudouridine synthases (PUS) uncovers which pseudouridine synthase modifies each site and their target sequence features. mRNA pseudouridinylation depends on both site-specific and snoRNA-guided pseudouridine synthases. Upon heat shock in yeast, Pus7p-mediated pseudouridylation is induced at >200 sites, and PUS7 deletion decreases the levels of otherwise pseudouridylated mRNA, suggesting a role in enhancing transcript stability. rRNA pseudouridine stoichiometries are conserved but reduced in cells from dyskeratosis congenita patients, where the PUS DKC1 is mutated. Our work identifies an enhanced, transcriptome-wide scope for pseudouridine and methods to dissect its underlying mechanisms and function. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology
                Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1471-0072
                1471-0080
                December 2015
                November 4 2015
                December 2015
                : 16
                : 12
                : 727-741
                Article
                10.1038/nrm4085
                26530390
                13d542e6-9482-4a6c-b3cb-49e1a0b8e5f2
                © 2015

                http://www.springer.com/tdm


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